Renata is the executive director of the Instituto Autismo & Vida, where she engages local stakeholders in advocacy and advises Brazilian public institutions on inclusion of people with disabilities in education and other services.
As the mother of a child with autism, she is dedicated to ensuring that Brazil’s education and health sectors implement inclusive practices fully. Renata also coordinates work done in southeastern Brazil by the Associação Brasileira por Ação pelos Direitos das Pessoas com Autismo, a national organization that monitors Brazil’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).“Securing access to general education involves working for awareness on one hand and law enforcement on the other,” says Renata, who works with members of the public, non-profit and private sectors to foster social awareness and political action on issues that are important to people with disabilities.
Prior to the ADA International Fellowship Program, Renata worked as a teacher for more than 14 years. Her professional and personal story provides her with significant experience as both a parent of a child with a disability and an education professional who is intimately familiar with Brazilian school settings.
As an ADA International Fellow representing Brazil, Renata was interested in learning the most effective strategies and tools to promote inclusive education policies in Brazilian schools. She was keen to identify new ways to instill awareness of education-related rights among people with disabilities and to bridge the policy-to-practice gap in Brazilian schools.
For her project, Renata planned a training and workshop on strategies to develop inclusive education practices that will be administered to government officials, teachers, and the leadership of the Instituto Autismo & Vida. She particularly benefitted from learning strategies for implementing inclusive education policy in environments where the rights of people with disabilities are clearly codified, but necessary expertise is scarce among educational professionals.